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Praise for The Blended Workbook

“Blended learning is the rocket fuel for innovation in education. Through this practical guide, Horn and Staker step readers through powerful examples and probing questions which unlock the promise of using technology to transform learning.”

—Richard Culatta, CEO, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)

Blended is a guiding light for the teachers and leaders we support, but implementation is tough and the road is long, so practical workbooks like this are essential tools for ongoing efforts to personalize learning in schools.”

—Shawn Rubin, chief executive officer, Highlander Institute

“Michael Horn and Heather Staker have written an excellent follow-up to Blended. If you need a framework that inspires superintendents and principals to transform education, start by reading their work. It is the best blend of vision, theory, and practical ideas available in our field.”

—Cary Matsuoka, superintendent, Santa Barbara Unified School District, Santa Barbara, California; board member, The Learning Accelerator

“Understanding the theory about blended and its variations is a basic requirement. For successful, sustained implementations of blended learning, it’s key to develop thorough understanding and skills in this arena. If you are serious about education for all students, then The Blended Workbook is essential reading and practice.”

—Dr. Kenneth W. Eastwood, superintendent, Middletown City School District, New York

The Blended Workbook is a definitive guide for school districts and teachers ready to jump from ‘personalized learning’ as a buzzword to transforming the educational experience for students. The video links and scenarios provide rigorous opportunities for a team to dive deep into understanding the components of blended learning and the steps for effective implementation.”

—Dr. Lisa Garcia, superintendent, Point Isabel ISD,
Port Isabel, Texas


Learning to Design the Schools of Our Future

Michael B. Horn Heather Staker

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This book would not have been possible without the generous assistance of many educators in Texas who allowed us to use their blended-learning plans to provide the critical examples that make this book come to life. In particular, thank you to the following schools, school systems, and educators who are doing all they can to help every student they serve succeed:

In addition, Pamela Barrier has provided critical on-the-ground support to help Texas educators in crafting and implementing their blended-learning plans, as well as advised us with this book.

We also thank our colleagues from the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, where this work began for both of us. In particular, Julia Freeland Fisher, Thomas Arnett, Clifford Maxwell, Ann Christensen, Hayden Hill, Katherine Mackey, and, of course, Clayton Christensen, remain wonderful colleagues and inspirations to us.

Our agents, Danny Stern, Kristen Karp, and Whitney Jennings of Stern Strategy Group, remain valuable supports for our work. We owe a debt of gratitude to Kate Gagnon, our editor, Cathy Mallon, and the rest of the editorial team at Wiley who helped bring this project to fruition. Anne Hoffman, senior director of curriculum and assistant professor of practice at the Relay Graduate School of Education, also helped us improve the rubrics used throughout the book. Anthony Kim, Mike Wolking, and Janice Flynn Vargo from Education Elements also contributed valuable insights.

Finally, this project would not have been completed without the support of two critical members of our team. Heather’s development associate at Ready to Blend, Theresa Carter, stepped in time and again to provide research support. And Nancy Messegee contributed heroic efforts on tight timelines to help us identify and fine-tune the blended-learning examples and explanations that appear throughout the book. We could not have done this book without her.

About the Authors

Michael Horn is the co-founder of and a distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, a nonprofit think tank. The chief strategy officer for Entangled Ventures, an education technology studio, and a principal consultant for Entangled Solutions, which offers innovation services to education institutions, Horn speaks and writes about the future of education and works with a portfolio of education organizations to improve the life of each and every student. He is the coauthor of the award-winning book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. Visit him at

Heather Staker is founder and president of Ready to Blend, a training and consulting firm that provides keynotes, workshops, and multiday deep-dive professional-development programs that help school leaders and teachers use blended learning to improve the achievement and well-being of K–12 children. She is also the co-founder of Brain Chase Productions, an online program that challenges students to learn in the context of a larger adventure story involving real buried treasure. Prior to these roles, she was a senior research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation. Visit her at and


This workbook is for all educators—teachers, teachers-in-training, school leaders and administrators, and parents—who are involved in designing learning environments in schools and want something more for students. It will help you get the most out of our book Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools.

In this book, we walk you and your team step-by-step through exercises that mirror the design process in Blended. Most of these exercises were developed and refined in workshops that we, along with our colleagues at the Clayton Christensen Institute, have given over the last several years to help educators design and implement blended-learning environments. The origins of several of these exercises lie in the work of our friends at Innosight, a consulting firm that Clayton Christensen cofounded, before we adapted them to an education context. We are grateful for their foundational work in helping organizations innovate.

Throughout the book, we not only provide concrete exercises for you to work through in designing a blended-learning model but also provide sample answers from real schools that have designed blended-learning environments. These examples serve as tangible models for you to reflect on, see what is possible, and build your capacity to design and evaluate. Many of these examples—good, bad, and mixed—have been culled from real answers to these very exercises by teams in school districts that designed their own blended-learning models in workshops facilitated by Ready to Blend, which Heather Staker founded.

This book is organized sequentially. It starts with helping you understand the basics of blended learning and assess whether you’re ready to get started. Then it helps you mobilize to bring together a team around a purpose for blending. Next, it walks you through a design process that builds on itself, by starting with helping you design the ideal student experience, then the ideal teacher experience, then the ideal physical and virtual environment, and then finally bringing it together in a coherent set of instructional models. The book concludes with implementing: helping you establish a winning culture up front, prepare a budget, and mitigate the risks as you innovate.

Even though the sequence builds on itself, you can dive into any part of the book that would be useful to you. If, for example, you already understand the basics of blended learning and which models are disruptive to a traditional classroom, then skip Part 1 and start with the module where you need support. If you are doing blended learning already, focus on the modules that will help you improve what you have in place. Just as learning should be personalized to maximize student success, it should be personalized to maximize your success as well.

Whenever possible, we recommend using this guide with a team of your fellow educators to maximize your vision and impact across a school or district.

It’s time to design the future.

Part 1

Understanding the Basics and Getting Ready